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North Korea sanctions

China’s July trade with North Korea slows from June as coal ban bites

Imports and exports fell 6.7 per cent to US$456.16 million, according to customs figures

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2017, 2:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2017, 10:55pm

China’s trade with North Korea in July was lower than the previous month, data showed on Wednesday, as a ban on coal purchases from its isolated neighbour slowed imports amid growing pressure from the United States to rein in Pyongyang’s missile programme.

The world’s second-largest economy imported and exported goods worth US$456.16 million in July, down 6.7 per cent from US$489 million in June, according to figures from China’s General Administration of Customs.

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The monthly total was up from US$426.1 million in July last year, while the total for the first seven months of the year was up 10.2 per cent at US$3.01 billion, according to data published on the administration’s website.

The data indicate that China’s move to halt North Korean coal imports in February crimped Pyongyang’s ability to raise hard currency through exports.

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China’s imports from North Korea in July were US$156.3 million, down 3 per cent from last month and a third lower than a year ago, based on the website data. For the January to July period, imports were US$1.04 billion, down 16.3 per cent.

Exports in July were US$299.85 million, down from US$326.85 million in June, but up from US$194 million in July last year. Year-to-date, they were up a third at US$1.97 billion.

On August 6, the United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea banning exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, in a bid to choke off a third of Pyongyang’s US$3 billion in annual export revenue.

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The crackdown on major commodity exports was aimed as punishment for intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July and is due to take effect in early September.

Last week, Beijing issued an official ban on the imports effective from August 15 as it moved to implement the sanctions.